You’ve been for a long, hard run. You’ve wolfed down your immediate high carb, high protein post run snack but now it’s dinnertime and you’re craving a reward for the day’s exertion. The standard grilled salmon, brown rice and asparagus is just not going to cut it. Payment is required for your efforts.
Unfortunately though, and rather unfairly, indulging in some high salt, high fat greasy goodness is going to be somewhat detrimental to the benefits you’re hoping to achieve from the intense exercise you just put your body through.
What you eat after a longer run (over the 30-45 minute mark) will impact how well you recover and how long recovery will take. It’s important that your post run meal contains a healthy balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat.
Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of fuel and are stored as glycogen. Your body can only store small amounts of glycogen, which is used during exercise to provide energy. Therefore it is important to restore what is lost during your workout, especially if you are training two days in row.
Protein is vital for the growth and repair of muscles. Strenuous exercise will cause the tearing of muscle fibres. Without adequate protein your muscles rate of repair and growth will be significantly reduced.
Essential fatty acids, Omega-3 and Omega-6, are important for the relief and prevention of joint pain.
So how can you indulge in a pizza but at the same time ensure you’re still giving your body what it needs to recover?
- Choose a whole-wheat crust for a higher content of fibre and antioxidants. Whole grains are also a good source of Iron, magnesium and B vitamins.
- Choose a sauce low in sodium or use fresh or tinned tomatoes.
- Replace processed meat toppings (which are high in saturated fats) with grilled chicken or ground turkey.
- Top with loads of veggies! Add peppers for a boost of Vitamin C and spinach for Omega-3.
Ingredients (makes 2 pizzas)
- 250 grams wholemeal flour
- 250 grams strong white flour
- 1 tsp yeast
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp golden caster sugar
- 270 grams chicken
- 520 grams chopped tinned tomatoes (drained)
- 2 bell peppers
- 200 grams mozzarella cheese
- 50 grams spinach
- Mix the flour, salt, yeast and sugar in a bowl. Make a well in the centre of the mixture, then add the olive oil and pour in 300ml of tepid water. Now mix to a dough, initially using a wooden spoon then using your hands in the final stages of mixing. Add a little more water to any remaining dry bits.
Transfer the dough to a flat work surface and knead for 3 minutes. The dough should have taken on an elastic quality. Leave the dough in a clean bowl and cover it with clingfilm that has been lightly brushed with oil on the side facing the dough. Leave it until it has doubled in size. This should take roughly an hour at room temperature
Pre-heat the oven to 230°C.
- Whilst waiting for the dough to rise coat the chicken in a marinade of your choice and grill. Once cooked dice and fry the peppers.
- Sprinkle your work surface with a generous coating of flour. Place the dough back on to the work surface, knock all the air out of the dough and knead for a couple of seconds to start shaping it into a ball. Dust your rolling pin with flour and roll the dough out into a circle.
- Sprinkle your pizza pan or stone with flour and place onto it your dough. Next smear over the chopped tomatoes. Layer over with spinach leaves then top with peppers, chicken and mozzarella. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the the crust and cheese are lightly golden.